What Is Data Archiving? Goals, Techniques, and Best Practices

The longer a business runs, the more data they accumulate. Archive storage is a topic to consider even before you reach the point where you need  to clear up storage space from dated historical information. Storage solutions are becoming a hot topic and many organizations don’t realize how many options they have or even the features they need. Samudyata Bhat, Content Marketing Specialist at G2, shares an informative article on the objective, techniques, options and best practices of data archiving. Let’s break down what data archiving is and how your organization can benefit from implementing a useful archive solution


Objectives of data archiving
Data archiving goals include effective data management, compliance and regulation policies, preserving digital history, and recovering data from disasters if they occur. Specifically, Bhat says that they concern your organization’s solution for long-term storage, cost optimization in being able to decommission old servers, compliance and regulatory requirements, easy to use historical reference and analysis, efficient data management and knowledge management.


Data archive vs. data storage vs. data backup
Data archiving may sometimes get confused with data storage or data backup – but they are all different in regards to your data. Data storage is the immediate data you house in your hard drives – data you are currently using every day. Data backup is exactly what it says – a backup of your current data that you can access should you need to recover lost or compromised data. Lastly, data archiving draws a bit from both storage and back up, with its main job is to preserve older and less-used or read-only data.


Benefits of data archiving
According to Bhat, data archiving goes beyond simply keeping data around; the practice lets enterprises improve productivity, maintain compliance, make educated decisions, and secure their digital assets for long-term retention. Bhat explains that when analyzed properly, historical data can provide significant insights and trends. With archived files stashed away, this can improve system efficiency, faster processors, and lower expenses. Data archiving also protects digital assets in a secure environment  to ensure your historical data is safe from unwanted access or breaches. Moreover, archiving is consistent with successful data governance practices and confirms that data is well-organized, easily accessible, and accurately classified.


Challenges of data archiving
With benefits, there also comes challenges to data archiving. As your business continues to grow, your volume of historical data will grow along with it. This poses a challenge for organizations to provide scalable archiving solutions to accommodate rising data quantities. Bhat points out that one such task to tackle first would be to make  the difficult choices about which data to preserve and which to purge. This can be helped with regulatory and compliance policies your company may need to follow. Additionally, archived data is often less accessible than current data. Finally, with the ever advancement of technology, data formats and storage methods also change and you will need to stay updated to keep your data accessible and secure.


Best practices for data archiving
While you think you may want to just throw all your historical data in an archiving platform, there are some best practices you may want to consider to build a strong data archival strategy. The first, according to Bhat, is to establish clear archiving policies such as the purpose of the archival data, how long it should be kept, and who gets regular access to it. She states that sorting and prioritizing data based on compliance, regulations and purpose is one way to organize your data, as well as establishing security and access measures from the get go for this sensitive information. You should consider focusing on document archiving by keeping records of your data archiving operations, including rules, methods, and reasoning behind data archiving choices. The final step would be choosing the right archiving system that would be scalable and efficient for your needs. Consider how often a user will access this data, the security measures you want in place and any reports you’ll need to run for larger data requests.


Data archiving solutions
Once you know what historical data you will be taking with you and the purpose of access, the next step would be selecting the right data archiving solution to house your data. Many archiving solutions have different priorities of focus and function – whether it’s the amount of storage, security measures, retention requirements, cloud storage, ease of access and use, report running, or a combination of any of these, there are many storage software options for your historical data. Amazon hase Simple Storage Service (S3), Google has cloud storage, Azure has Archive Storage, IDDrive uses Online Backup, and Dell has EMC Flash Storage to name a few.  Consulting firms and software companies also offer storage solutions such as Infor’s Data Lake and Nogalis’ APIX Cloud Archive Solution. Whatever your organization chooses, make sure it checks off all the boxes for the purposes of your historical archives.


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